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How do Nova Signups Work?

   Nova is a weird school. Whenever I try try to explain how it works to anyone, they are confused. I figured the best way to explain it would be to write a guide to signing up for classes at Nova.

    Before classes start at the beginning of a semester, we have “Fall conference” or “Winter conference” respectively. These conferences are three to four days long and are also known as bridge week. During bridge week, you have to attend workshops and do a couple of other things. Workshops are put on by guest speakers or teachers who do not lead coors, and are based on anything from the workings of the justice system to parenting classes. You are required to attend a certain number of these workshops, and at some point during the workshop, you will receive a stamp on your “passport”: a piece of paper that you must complete in order to sign up for classes at the regular time slots. In addition to the workshops, you must get stamps on your passport for a few other things, which include meeting with your coordinator to plan your schedule, going to coor every morning, turning in your ALE form, getting your picture taken, and/or any number of other things. There are usually a few more workshop periods than stamps you need, so you can use those periods to complete the rest of your passport.

    I personally find it helpful to plan out my workshops in advance instead of figuring it out as I go along, because this ensures that I do not have to miss workshops that I would have attended due to coordinator meetings or other mandatory stamps. If you assist with a workshop, you can gain two stamps for that period and that gives you more freedom to choose what happens during bridge week, whether it is leaving early, or just skipping a workshop for any reason. When you complete your passport, your coordinator signs off on it on your class sign up form, and then you are ready to sign up for classes.

    Class sign-ups are a very good, but can also be, a bad thing. During your coordinator meeting, you will look at the credit you need and compose a schedule that will best get you that credit. Then, on the last day of bridge week, class sign-ups start. They begin with committee sign-ups, and you must sign up for at least one governing committee (for example United Nova, Rat’s Nest, Recruitment, etc.). Once that is done, priority sign ups start for people who either cannot sign up for classes later or absolutely have to be in a class (for example someone with severe social anxiety or a graduating senior). Once you have your stamp for your committee and have signed up for any priority classes, you must go around to different rooms and sign up for classes. You are required to stay in a room for a certain period of time after signing up and then physically move to another room to sign up for different classes. I find it very helpful to plan out exactly what room I need to be in beforehand, because often times the difference between you getting into a class or not is determined by a few seconds. You are only able to sign up for five classes in the initial sign-up period, and after that comes open sign up, in which you can go and sign up for any other classes. Open sign-ups are also when you have to sign up if you did not get all your necessary stamps on your passport or if you lost it all together. Classes are usually full at this time, and it takes a bit of predictive gambling to figure out what classes will still be open at this time. If you are trying to take six classes, then you need to decide which class you are going to sign up for in open sign-ups, and hopefully that one will not be too full.

    So assuming that makes sense, what tips can I give new people at Nova? A couple of things. First off, familiarize yourself with the layout of the school. Rooms will be labeled with three characters, the first of which is . My second bit of advice is to get all your passport stamps early. This will benefit you by giving you more freedom, as well as giving you the choice to do my third bit of advice, which is to walk to each of your classes’ sign up locations and take note of the best way to get there and familiarize yourself about where to go and how to get there efficiently. I would also advise talking to your coordinator and figuring out which classes are the most likely to fill up during their sign up period and which are worth it to run to, because different teachers or classes have different tendencies to fill up (Example: Terrance or Mike classes fill up quickly; Christina doesn’t usually put caps on the maximum number of students in her class, and Akil often makes you wait a long time after you have signed up to go to another room). That brings me to my last point: I know not all people can or want to run, and it’s “technically” [editors note: it really isn’t allowed] not allowed, but moving quickly is going to be your best friend. You don’t need to train your whole life and get a Nike sponsorship, but find a place to put your stuff and wear shoes that won’t make you roll an ankle. Like I said before, often times whether or not you get into a class is determined by seconds, in which case every detail matters.

    All of these are small tips, but understanding the logistics of sign-ups already puts you far ahead of many Nova students. Many of these small tips will gain you only a few extra seconds, but I have had many instances in which I got into a class just seconds before someone else who would have taken my spot, and that time adds up to something very meaningful. Getting into all of your classes feels great and sets you up for a great semester. So, hopefully after reading this, you have a seamless successful semester sign-up, and a great experience in your time at Nova.